The launch of Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) is to be delayed again – until at least October 2025 – with the aim of aligning it to a UK-wide scheme.
Lorna Slater, the MSP responsible for overseeing the DRS in Scotland, told the Scottish Parliament: “The single biggest message from business is the need for certainty for planning and investment.
“The UK Government’s conditions [including the removal of glass from the scheme] blow a massive hole in any certainty. Since receiving the UK’s decision 12 days ago we have been engaging intensively with delivery partners including Circularity Scotland and industry to understand how this decision affects their preparations for the launch of Scotland’s DRS.
“The removal of glass and the imposition of as yet unspecified conditions have both been pored over extensively. While Circularity Scotland has been optimistic that the scheme could go ahead without glass, overwhelmingly the feedback from producers, retailers and hospitality is they cannot prepare for a March launch based on the changes being required by the UK Government without any certainty about what those changes might be.
“We have been left with no other option but to delay the launch of Scotland’s DRS until October 2025 at the earliest, based on the UK Government’s stated aspirations.”
Slater added: “I am committed to a deposit return scheme. It will be more limited than it should be…but I will work as hard as I can with the UK Government and other devolved governments to play the hand that we have been dealt – for a cleaner environment, for less waste, and to meet our climate targets.”
Colin Smith, chief executive of the Scottish Wholesale Association, commented: “There are no published UK DRS regulations. Without regulations confirming what a UK DRS scheme will look like in detail, including deposit levels and cross-nation interoperability, it’s impossible for Scottish Government to give industry any confidence about how any Scottish scheme could continue.
“The next steps in what happens to Circularity Scotland (the current scheme administrator) and the £80 million already invested by them, the contracts signed with their contractors, and investments made by business, are currently unclear. I was clear with the First Minister that the Scottish Government should work with CSL and businesses to ensure that the experience and knowledge about DRS gathered so far is not lost.
“From the SWA’s point of view, given the time and effort that we have invested over the past six years – raising the implications on the wholesale channel; representing our wholesalers that are producers as members of CSL; and working tirelessly to get exemptions and financial mitigations for those members and wider SME producers – we cannot let this work and achievements go to waste in any wider UK scheme.
“We will continue to engage with Scottish Government, CSL, UK Government and partner trade associations as this situation evolves.”Published Date: June 7, 2023